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Career: Do I follow what I truly desire to do, or do I do something that's more likely to come true?
May 12, 2007
8:40 pm
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skoopdoctaj
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- I've been through so many different speeches and have been told so many different things:

I get the "Follow your dreams" pitch

- then i get the "Do what will make you money"

- then i'm told "If I give my best it will come true"

- then i get told "your dream is a hobby, think realistically"

It's all too contradicting and confusing to me. And I just want the bare truth, none of the hallmark embellishment or doubting criticism.

I have aspiration to go to college for music, yes, music. And then your first thought is that i'm not going go anywhere with it. My number one dream is to be a composer, then music director, then school music teacher. I'm told it's "impossible," but it's not like i'm trying to be a rockstar. And if it's so impossible how come there's even such a thing as a music teacher?

I am consistently told to follow my dreams, then soon after told not to. And I just want the truth:

= Is it wise to follow a career path in music?
= Is there actually good job opportunities for a "music" major/minor?
= Am I better off just going with what I can tolerate and will make me money?

May 12, 2007
8:53 pm
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Loralei
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If music is what you love, then you should follow that path. Being a school music teacher, band director, or school orchestra director are certainly attainable. Being a composer is something you can work towards, perhaps on the side. That one may be hard to just step into. You can also give private music lessons. Don't limit yourself to certain job titles. There is music everywhere. Work in a recording studio, a store that sells musical instruments, a venue that books musical performers, etc. You are better off trying to have a career associated with something you enjoy than suffering with one that the only joy is the paycheck.

May 12, 2007
9:05 pm
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sad sack
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Hi!

I say follow your passion. I am in my early 50's and I see so many people who are just miserable in their jobs. Money should not be the sole reason why you choose a particular career. I don't know where you are located, but if you are in close proximity to a large urban center, I would imagine that there would be positions for music teachers. Perhaps, do some research and see if there is any indication that there may be a demand for music teachers in your surrounding communities. You could always give private lessons which pay very well. There is a book entitled "Occupational Outlook Handbook" (or something very similar to that title) that gives an overview of the various professions including expectations for openings, salary, educational requirements, etc. Your local public library should have a copy.

Do your research but follow your heart. I could only imagine how rewarding it must be to teach someone how to play an instrument.

Go for it!!!!

Sad

May 13, 2007
12:00 am
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hopeful for change
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My belief is this, find what you love to do so that when you go to your job everyday it isn't a JOB that you get stuck in the rest o fyour life, you hate, and hate having to go in and spend every day, day after day after day there.

If its something you love, then you can look forward to it enjoy it and enjoy life even if the money isn't the best. Its better to be happy.

May 13, 2007
3:50 am
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Ned 348
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Like George Burns said "I'd rather fail at something I love then succeed at something I hate".

May 13, 2007
3:54 am
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courage to change
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Yes, follow your heart, I did, and love everything i do. It was never easy. I worked in an office, hated it.

I followed my heart, and am now loving what I do. It still has its stressful moment, but the passion I have behind what I do is so enjoyable. Passion and drive, enthusiasm.

Now money is another subject. I pay my morgage, I eat, I have the odd holiday. But I do not have an exceedingly high income at the moment. I do have an excellent quality of life, not materialist, but quality.

However, I am striving to increase this, financially but it takes time. And I intend to do it with what I love doing best, but slowely.

Ive never been a high risk taker, so I take small steps to achieve my desires, so I dont drop too low too quickly.

Thats my experience. GOOD LUCK xxxxxx

May 13, 2007
9:20 am
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Rasputin
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That's a smart question Skoop many of us come across. I agree....you should follow your heart and that's what I'm doing right now, even tho the path is not smooth or easy as I was told by someone who is doing this same thing I'm planning to do.

All the best for all of us!!!

May 13, 2007
11:07 am
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gracenotes
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Skoop,

Follow your heart. I think its a total myth that you cannot make a living in music, or in any creative arts area. At the very worst, you will have gone through an educational process, gotten a degree, obtained new skills. Guess what? Even, in a worst case scenario, if you never did music, you would have a degree that would be sought by potential employers. But, that is the worst case scenario.

I know many creative people, including musicians who are making a living at it. Nope, its not easy, it demands your best, but what you end up doing is piecing together doing a number of things. Maybe it is school teaching, maybe its private teaching, maybe it is getting paid to perform, maybe you can do some studio demo work, some touring, teach at a summer music camp, get paid to do some studio jingles, make arrangements for someone's musical.

I know someone who is making a living in LA, among other things, doing studio work playing for demos. Its not easy, but he is doing it, and then he does his orchestral work, his true love, on the side, but not for much money yet.

I am telling to this from experience. I am in my early 50's and I am finally going for my dream. I am going to a university this fall and studying in a creative field full time. I am going to supplement my school with some teaching and other things. This is my dream. In fact, this was my dream in my 20's, my 30's, and my 40's, but I took the route of doing a practical thing, and I am miserable in my job. I really didn't have the self confidence to do this before now, and I believed the nay sayers who said you couldn't make a living. But, I got out there and found out there are people making a living at this. I am quitting my job in about four weeks, but that can't be soon enough. I am going to be relocating in the LA area and going for my dream.

My advice to you about schools. Check them out carefully. Go to the best school you possibly can. Make sure it is a school that is competitive and has audition requirements, is selective. It should not have to be one of those proprietary schools, either, that takes your music with false promises. Go to a university. There a students that study music, art, writing, whether, and they just slide. You want to be among people who are dedicated and challenge you. Look at the university websites and see how challenging their requirements are for graduation. Some even post their requirements for each semester. If its looks challenging to you, that's good. If it looks like something you could slide through, forget it. That's not going to get to to be at a high level in your field, and that's what you need to be.

Also, if you have not already, start studying with the best teacher you can, one who has great technical skills, but also one who is "out there" working in the field. These kinds of people can be fabulous mentors for you and show you that it is possible. Find out what they do, how they got there, and take their real-world suggestions. Find some good books on making a living in a creative field. See if you can find some boards with musicians who are doing what you are doing. That can also be a tremendous source of support THe idea is to find your success team, those who support your visions. They're out there.

And, when you go to school, see if you can find a way to double major in both composition and get that teaching credential. A friend's son is majoring in music in LA and he told me that his son will also be alble to get his teaching credential if he goes to schools just for another semester or two. So he will graduate with a degree in music plus a teaching credential.

To the naysayers, I say its probably more about them and how they never went for their dreams.

May 13, 2007
6:54 pm
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lonely and addicted
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Here is a quote that I have on the front of my professional portfolio for you.

"If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, your always in the same place." -Nora Roberts

Go for what you want and need to help you be happy.

May 14, 2007
7:21 pm
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skoopdoctaj
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hey "hopeful for change", i just want you to know that the advice u gave me when i posted here about a year ago REALLY helped me through harsh times and i wouldn't have been able to get through it without your support.

----------------------------------------

Thanks a lot everyone, you've given me the reassurance I needed to explore a career in this field. I am extremely helpful for your insight and recommendations of action. Like most people would, I still have doubt to some degree, but I really plan to take all your advice seriously and start taking steps toward pursuing a career that I actually desire to have. Thanks again.

May 14, 2007
7:50 pm
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skoopdoctaj
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*extremely thankful

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